Anthropological light on the mind-body problem

In the last issue of Cognitive Science (vol. 35, #7, Sept 2011), “Cross-Cultural Similarities and Differences in Person-Body Reasoning: Experimental Evidence From the United Kingdom and Brazilian Amazon”, an excellent article by Emma Cohen, Emily Burdett, Nicola Knight, Justin Barrett (available here).

The abstract begins: "We report the results of a cross-cultural investigation of person-body reasoning in the United Kingdom and northern Brazilian Amazon (Marajó Island). The study provides evidence that directly bears upon divergent theoretical claims in cognitive psychology and anthropology, respectively, on the cognitive origins and cross-cultural incidence of mind-body dualism. The article ends: "The cross-cultural study reported offers the first systematic, cross-cultural analysis of person-body reasoning across a broad range of capacities, provides firm evidential grounds for the refinement of theory and method in future cognitive psychological and anthropological research, and suggests numerous lines of potential further inquiry on the emergence and spread of patterns of recurrence and variation in mind-body dualism in particular, and person-body reasoning generally."




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